Goblin market Essay

This essay has a total of 657 words and 3 pages.

goblin market

It is difficult to cull a satisfying thematic interpretation from Christina Rossetti's
"Goblin Market." Obvious themes might be "that one should be careful of temptation," or
"that little girls should not talk to strange men." One might even go on to the end of the
poem and decide the theme is "that sisters should love one another." These are rather
trite ideas, however, and while the poem definitely supports them (and they are easily
defended with quotations from the text), a more careful look at "Goblin Market" reveals
that the poem is fairly complex, and able to support a more revolutionary reading than the
ones put forth above. Rather than saying that "Goblin Market" has a particular theme, I
would put forth the notion that it attempts to deal with certain problems Rossetti
recognized within the canon of English literature, and specifically with the problem of
how to construct a female hero.


There are no signifecant female heros in English literature up to the time of Rossetti.
Female protagonists exist, of course, like Elizabeth in Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but
they have no outlet for heroic action. They are constrained by the gender-roles into which
a male-dominated society has placed them. Elizabeth must spend a good deal of her energy
waiting for Darcy to take action; she herself is hobbled by the cords of decorum.


In "Goblin Market," Rossetti creates a rudimentary framework of behavior in which a female
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